Christmas Snakes & Lizards
Well, the impending appearance of Jolly Old Saint Nick, is but a week away and I’ve yet to touch on the subject. I intend to remedy that, starting with this – the first of my Christmas extravaganza posts saluting the good will and Xmas cheer the world over.
To begin, I’m going to share with you an enchanting fairy-tale that really brings home the festive in all its technicolor glory… all warm and cozy? Good let’s begin;
There once was a mother who had three daughters. The oldest was naughty and mean. The middle child was much better, although she, too, had her shortcomings. But the youngest was a good child. The mother was so peculiar that it was precisely the oldest daughter that she loved most and she could not suffer the youngest one. That is why she often sent the poor girl into the big woods to be rid of her. She thought the girl would get lost and never more return. But like every good child, this girl had a guardian angel, who did not desert her. The angel always brought her back to the correct path.
However, one day it seemed that her guardian angel was not guiding her by the hand for the child could not find its way out of the forest. The girl ran and ran until evening fell. Then she saw a light burning in the distance, ran toward it and came to a small hut. The child knocked and the door opened. Behind it, she found a second door, where she knocked again. An old man with a snow-white beard and venerable appearance opened the door. He spoke kindly to her “Come dear child, sit next to the fire on my little footstool and warm yourself. I’ll bring you a little clear water if you are thirsty. I don’t have anything for you to eat here in the woods except a few roots. You must first peel and cook them.”
The man gave her the roots: the girl scraped them clean, then she took a piece of the pancake and bread her mother had given her and put everything in a little pot on the fire and cooked porridge. When it was finished the man said “I am so hungry, give me a bit of your food.” The child was obliging and gave him more than she kept for herself. But God’s blessing was there and so the child’s hunger was satisfied. After they had eaten, the man said “Let us go to bed: but I have only one bed. You lay down in it; I will lie on the straw on the ground.”
“No,” answered the child, “you stay in your bed; the straw is soft enough for me.”
The man took the child in his arm and carried it to bed. The girl said her prayer and went to sleep. The next morning when she woke up, she wanted to say good morning to the man but did not see him. She got out of bed and looked but could not find him in any corner. Finally she saw a sack with money behind the door. The sack was so heavy that the child could not carry it. On it was written that this was for the child who had slept there that night. The child took the sack and jumped away and returned happily to its mother. Because she gave her mother all the money, the woman had to be satisfied with the child.
The next day the second daughter also had an urge to go into the woods. The mother gave her a much larger piece of pancake and bread. The same thing happened to her. In the evening she came to the same little hut of the man, who gave the girl roots to make porridge. When the girl was finished the Saint said “I am so hungry; give me some of your food.” The child replied “Both of us can eat from the porridge.”
When afterward the m,an offered his bed and wanted to lie down on the straw, the child replied “No, lay down on the bed, we both have enough room there.” Saint Joseph took the girl in his arm, laid her in bed and slept on the straw. In the morning the child awoke and looked for the man. He was gone but behind the door the girl found a small sack with money. But the sack was only as large as the girl’s little hand. On it was written “For the child who slept here this night.” The child took the sack and ran home and gave it to its mother. But secretly the girl kept a few coins for herself.
Now the oldest daughter became curious and wanted to go into the woods the next morning. The mother gave her a pancake and as much bread and cheese as her heart desired. In the evening the girl found Saint Joseph in his little hut, just like the other two had found him. When the porridge was finished and the man spoke “I am so hungry, give me some of your food!” the girl replied “Wait until I have eaten my fill.” Whatever I have left you can have.” But the girl ate almost everything and the man had to scrape the bottom of the little bowl. The good man offered the girl his bed and wanted to lie on the straw. The child accepted this without hesitation, lay down in the little bed and left the hard straw for the old man. The next morning when the girl awoke, the man could not be found. But the maiden did not worry: she looked behind the door for the sack of money. She thought something was lying on the ground, but because she couldn’t really tell what it was, she bent over and hit her nose on the floor. Something stuck to her nose when she got up. To the girl’s horror she began to scream and howl, but it didn’t help. She had to look at her nose and see how it protruded so very far from her face. She ran away screaming until she found the man. She fell down at his feet and prostrated herself. Finally, finding him ion the woods, he merely shook his head and left her with two Pfennigs. When the girl returned, her mother stood in front of the door and asked “What presents have you received?”
The girl lied and said “A big sack full of money, but I lost it on the way home!”
“Lost it!” the mother cried. “We sure want to find it again.” And she took the girl by the hand and wanted to go out searching. First the girl started to cry and did not want to go. But finally she went along. On the way, the two were overcome by so many snakes and lizards, that they could not save themselves. They stung the child until she was dead, but the mother they stung in her foot because she had not raised the girl better.
Yep, that’s it – in the olden days that’s what passed for a christmas story…. bloody bleak… no wonder old people are so sour…. right about now you’re wishing for a healing dose of Charlie Brown and his stupid gimpy little tree, aren’t you?
Enjoy the Malls on the weekend!
Have a Great Day